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Do you feel often feel sluggish, tired, and simply unmotivated at work, despite loving your job and the people you work with? You may be suffering from workplace fatigue. 

A study published in the Safety and Health Magazine found that 38% of the American workforce gets less than 7 hours of sleep per night. Combined with an increasingly sedentary lifestyle it’s no wonder we feel constantly tired at work.

But all is not lost. By addressing some of the key culprits of fatigue, it’s possible to reverse the constant yawning and get back to feeling motivated, productive, and energized at work again.

Hydration

Water is essential for human life. It constitutes 60% of our bodies, and this alone shows just how vital a component it is. To be more specific, water helps to protect your body organs, transport oxygen and nutrients to the cells and serves as the primary building block of cells.

When you fail to take adequate amounts of water, all of the body’s metabolic processes are slowed down. As a result, you experience muscle soreness, take longer to recover and have less desire to push yourself. In other words, dehydration decreases your performance. This study conducted by the University of East London revealed that drinking enough water helps to increase your performance by 14%.

So to prevent workplace fatigue, drink more water throughout the day. WebMD recommends taking 9 cups of water per day for women and 13 cups for men.

Incorporate Breaks into your Workday

We’ve all experienced those moments when we get so engrossed in work projects that we forget to take a single break. While we might feel accomplished afterward, refusing to rest in between your work hours is hurting you more than you know.

If you want to make the most of your work day, try treating it as a series of mini-battles rather than an all-out war. Your ultimate goal should be to reduce workplace fatigue so you can be more productive. You are not going to achieve this if you chain yourself to your desk all day long.

Instead, take a break and distract yourself from work every hour. During your lunch break, do not spend that time replying emails or scarfing down a calorie-packed sandwich. There are healthier ways to spend your lunchtime such as taking a walk, meditating, napping or exploring nature.

Adjust Your Workstation

Numerous research studies have proven that extended periods of sitting are detrimental to our wellbeing. As a result, the advocacy on standing while working has been on the rise for the past couple of years. But even standing for too long harms our health.

The solution?

Equip your workstation with modern active office furniture and follow proper office ergonomics. A good example is by using an active sitting chair such as the CoreChair. This great alternative to a traditional chair helps you maintain optimal sitting posture while also keeping your body in constant motion while you sit. Continuous movement throughout the day is very important!

Speaking of posture, did you know that the way you sit at your desk can also cause workplace fatigue? The thing about an incorrect posture is that it wastes your energy. A proper posture ensures that your muscles are relaxed, and your neck and back are supported; hence, preserving energy as you sit.

Here are a few points to keep in mind when sitting:

  • Ensure your butt is at the back of the chair
  • Keep your feet flat on the floor. You can use a footstool if your chair is too high.
  • Never lean forward

Eat Smarter

Due to busy schedules, a lot of us neglect what we eat at work. We feel like we could survive on just bagels and coffee for an entire day. The problem with such snacks is that they simply cause momentary spikes in our blood glucose. As soon as the sugar high wears off, you start feeling lethargic.

Start eating a balanced diet consisting of proteins, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Reduce the number of times you eat junk foods, especially those that are high in sugar and fat. Your body is like a finely tuned sports car- feed it the proper premium fuel to keep it running properly.

Reduce Stress

According to the American Medical Association, stress is the primary cause of over 60% of all human illnesses and diseases, including chronic fatigue.  

The reason for this is that our bodies are just not meant to withstand prolonged exposure to stress, be it emotional, mental or physical stress. When you subject yourself to such stress, there will be consequences, one of which is persistent fatigue.

Let’s take a look at how this happens: 

Stress triggers the body to produce a stress hormone called cortisol. Cortisol, in turn, encourages more production of adrenaline from the adrenal glands.

As your body continues to produce adrenaline, it forces your metabolism to speed up so as to keep up with your energy demands. The increment in energy output depletes your nutrients fast, draining its resources. Ultimately, you exhaust all your energy, and this causes you to feel tired and sleepy.  

So how can you reduce stress at your workplace?

Track your stressors – the first step is to identify what’s causing your stress levels to shoot up. Keep a journal at work and record your thoughts, emotions, and information relevant to your work environment. This will help you find patterns and triggers of stress.

Adopt healthy responses – when you’re feeling tensed at work, you might be tempted to stress eat. But junk food and alcohol are not the right way to combat your stress. Instead, make healthier choices such as taking a yoga class, reading or spending time with loved ones.

Key Takeaway

Fatigue affects workers’ health and increases the risk of workplace injuries. But it’s not just the employees who get affected, the entire organization suffers as a result of productivity loss. Fortunately, there are many things that can be done to prevent workplace fatigue. These include hydration, reducing stress triggers, taking breaks, eating healthily and adjusting workstations.

George is the senior editor and ergonomist at Ergonomic Trends. You can find him hitting the gym or the yoga studio when he’s not working hard at a cafe as a digital nomad.

George Chiang

Senior Editor and Ergonomist, Ergonomic Trends

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